First Selectwoman Lisa Heavner will not seek re-election to the town’s top post in November, she said in a statement Friday.
Heavner, a Democrat, cited Simsbury’s recent vote to switch to a town manager form of government as her primary reason for not running again.
Under the new charter, approved at referendum in November, the board of selectmen will continue to act as the town’s legislative authority, focusing on policy, major projects and long-term issues. The first selectman will be the designated political and policy leader, with duties specified within the town charter.
“The position of first selectwoman as we have known since the founding of this great town will cease to exist in December as the town transitions to the town manager form of government,” Heavner said in the statement. “While the title of first selectwoman or first selectman will remain, the functions will be vastly diminished, with much of the public accountability previously attributed to the first selectwoman transferred to the town manager. To ensure a smooth transition of government, I believe it is in the town’s best interest for me to step aside come December to enable a fresh start for the new form of government.”
Heavner was appointed to the post following the resignation of former First Selectwoman Mary Glassman in January 2015. Heavner earned a full term in a victory against Republican Philip Purciello that November.
Before becoming first selectwoman, Heavner was a three-term member of the board of selectman and previously served as deputy first selectman.
Heavner thanked her colleagues on the board of selectmen and said she is “proud of what Simsbury has accomplished over the past three years, and it has been an honor to serve the people of Simsbury and the community that I love.”
“From now until the end of my term, you have my unwavering commitment that I will focus my attention on the smooth transition of government and continuing to deliver the highest quality services to our residents,” Heavner said. “I share the concerns of many of you about the potential impact on Simsbury of the state’s fiscal crisis, and you have my commitment that I will continue to do everything I can to make sure that Simsbury’s voice is heard in Hartford.”
The local Democrats will nominate candidates at a caucus scheduled for July 24 at 7 p.m., at Eno Memorial Hall. The election is in November.